Nawaz Sharif flays Centre for not releasing funds for varsities

LAHORE: PML-N President Nawaz Sharif has said that the federal government is endangering the future of brilliant students of the nation by depriving them of higher education opportunities.

He stated this while expressing a serious concern at the financial crisis facing the public sector universities in the country because of the abnormal delay in the release of funds by the federal government.

In a statement on Thursday, Nawaz said that it was unbelievable that against the approved budget provision of Rs12 billion for the Higher Education Commission (HEC) for the last quarter of this financial year, the government had released only 2 percent of the budget, i.e. Rs250 million, while the financial year was about to end. Since half of the budget allocation of Rs12 billion was for the recurringbudgets of 74 public sector universities, many of them had not been able to pay salaries to their faculty and staff, he said, adding that the difficulties were especially serious for the new universities or universities in the remote areas which had not yet built any reserves for such eventualities.

Nawaz said that there was another glaring example of the poor governance and wrong priorities of the current government. In the past four years, he said, the total expenditure on education, which was to be increased from two percent of the GDP to four percent in five years, had actually declined below 1.6 percent. Pakistan virtually held the record for the lowest outlay in education in the world, the PML-N chief said.